If you are looking for the latest bit of technology magic, let me steer you to something that completely defies logical or financial comprehension. That’s my polite way of saying, “a product that will blow your mind but not your wallet.”
Somfy Automated Shading Solutions

This is the brain child of Logitech and Verizon Wireless. Called the Logitech® Mobile Video™, this low cost system lets you set up a camera and view it from your cell phone. You can watch over your home office, garage, nanny, traffic driving by, or anything else. Moreover, you can also watch the camera from any Web browser.

When I tried it, I was amazed with its quality. The video capture was perfect – albeit a little slow on movement. Over the passed years I’ve had my hands on many expensive professional security camera systems. For all the bells, whistles, and high price tags in the professional group, this little webcam and cell phone system is about as good as it gets.

For my testing, I used a Motorola T720 cell phone and the Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000 camera. The power-packed but petite phone is light but sports a big color screen. The phone itself is a clamshell (or flip top) style and measures only two by three and a half inches when closed. It’s less than an inch thick. The color viewing screen is about one and a half by two inches, which is large enough to watch video.

The camera I used was Logitech’s QuickCam Pro 4000. It stacks up well with features like clear video, 1.3 megapixel photo capability, and a mode to change it from color to black and white. In fact, this $99 QuickCam can see as well as some of the $300 to $500 security cameras that I’ve tried. The only difference is that you can change the lens, (close-up or wide angle) on a professional security camera to get a customized view.

The camera comes with a cadre of software so you can use it to capture video, take still shots, add video to your instant messenger, and make video calls. You can also email video or pictures. If you want a more professional looking video, the camera comes with video editing software. Finally, there’s even a security feature that will track when something moves in front of the camera.

To marry the camera to the cell phone, you need only to follow the directions of giving it a name and (if desired) a password. If you’d like to share your camera view with the world, you can make it a public camera and it will show up on Logitech’s mobile video site. One example of a public camera on the site is Ducky’s Car Wash in San Mateo, California. So, if you are nearby and want to see if there’s much of a waiting line, you can pull up a real-time video of the carwash. (Wouldn’t it be great to check on restaurant waiting lines?)

With a monthly subscription rate of only $4.99 (plus airtime), this could turn into an inexpensive way to see what want, when you can’t see it. I call that “extended eyeballs.”

If you already have a Verizon Get It Now-enabled cell phone and a Logitech camera, you can try it for free. The system works with most Logitech Web-cam styled video cameras and a selection of Verizon Wireless phones that include: the LG VX4400, the Motorola T720 and the Audiovox CMD9500.

You can find more information on this dynamic duo at http://mobilevideo.logitech.com and http://www.verizonwireless.com/getitnow .